In New Jersey, the long-running effort to fully re-open the shuttered TEN Atlantic City has taken a new turn after news emerged that a private equity firm has reportedly tendered a $220 million bid to purchase the 1,399-room Boardwalk property.
According to a report from The Press of Atlantic City newspaper, the tender was made by an as yet unnamed New York City-based investment group being represented by marketing and management firm Digital Launch, which has previously helped to develop effective advertising campaigns for the likes of The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Incorporated.
Alex Fredericks, Operations Director for Digital Launch, reportedly told the newspaper that the bid had been lodged within the previous ten days and comes as businessman Glenn Straub, the current owner of the property once known as the Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City, awaits the outcome of his legal appeal against a January decision from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission that he must apply for a full license of his own before re-opening the venue’s 150,000 sq ft casino.
The Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City cost $2.4 billion to build in 2012 but closed in September of 2014 after filing for a second round of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections. Straub subsequently spent $82 million to purchase the 6.3 million sq ft property via his Polo North Country Club real estate vehicle before September saw him re-brand the enterprise as TEN Atlantic City.
After missing two previous self-imposed deadlines, Straub had reportedly hoped to re-open the property with its gambling facility in June but this plan hit a stumbling block due to the ruling from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission with the Florida-based businessman now arguing that he should not have to apply for a full license because the casino is going to be leased to a third party.
“If they rule in our favor, we will open the casino,” Straub told the newspaper. “If they rule against us, maybe we will have to look for someone else.”
The Press of Atlantic City reported that 70-year-old Straub yesterday declared that he was unaware of any such offer to purchase TEN Atlantic City and had never held negotiations with any such private equity firms.
“I don’t know any private equity firms,” Straub told the newspaper.
April saw the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, join the chorus of those calling for Straub to offload TEN Atlantic City due to his inability to “deliver” on the plan to fully re-open the Atlantic City property. The Republican reportedly declared that the businessman could inaugurate the venue without a casino but that he was doubtful as to whether this scenario would ever come to pass.
“I’m hoping, quite frankly, that he sells [TEN Atlantic City] because in the end he just hasn’t been able to deliver,” Christie stated.
In response, Straub purportedly called Christie a lame-duck governor that is discouraging businesses from investing in New Jersey. The Press Of Atlantic City moreover reported that the billionaire property magnate claimed that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission had not followed state statutes in denying his petition to waive the casino license requirement for TEN Atlantic City.
“Why do you think Atlantic City is taking as long as it’s taking,” Straub, referring to the resort city’s economic recovery, told the newspaper.